American vs. European – What’s The Difference?

Roulette is a worldwide game and though historically it originated from the same source, over time different versions have been developed based on where in the world it has been played. The main two versions of roulette are the European and American. Whilst for the most part they are very similar, there are a few marked differences, which can change the gameplay entirely.

How is Roulette set up?

Before we explain the differences between American and European roulette, it is important to understand the basics of play and the set up. Roulette is comprised of a wheel and a roulette board. The numbers on the roulette wheel correlate with the numbers on the board. The numbers alternate between red and black coloured pockets, except for the zero, which has a green background. Players place their bets by putting their chips on the number on the board that they believe the ball will land on. Once bets are placed, the dealer spins the wheel and drops in the ball. The rest is up to fate.

The Differences

Now for the differences. Though small they are significant. The difference between the two types is in the numbers and therefore the winning odds. A European wheel contains the numbers from (and including) zero all the way up to 36. An American wheel, on the other hand, contains one extra number, a double zero as well as a single one. What does this mean for players? Simply, the odds on the American Roulette wheel favour the house rather than the player. An extra number gives an extra variable against which the player has to contend. Odds of winning on a European wheel are at 1 in 37, but on an American wheel it is 1 in 38.